About Us

Program Overview

The Women in Leadership (WIL) Program in the College of Business and Economics provides the opportunity to accelerate students’ skills to enable them to succeed and advance professionally. This is an academia-industry collaboration that provides a significant and high-impact learning experience with insights from industry leaders, and creates the opportunity for high-potential students to work on social impact initiatives with their mentors to practice what they have learned..

Key Program Elements:

  • Mentoring: Fellows are paired with a business executive mentor for the academic year who will provide advice on professional development.
  • Women in Leadership Seminar: Fellows will enroll and participate in a Women in Leadership seminar at CBE in.
  • Social Entrepreneurship Leadership Project: Fellows will engage in the social sector and contribute to their community in a social entrepreneurship project of their choosing. [i]Fellows will present their projects at a reception.
  • Allowance: Fellows will receive an award of $1000 (contingent on funding availability and meeting program requirements)

[i] For example, fellows can identify a non-profit such as National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Habitat for Humanity, Alzheimer’s Foundation, CSUEB’s Pioneers for HOPE, or Kiva to lead an initiative for them. Fellows can also create a project from their own vision that will positively impact the community. Take a look at what our Fellows have done in 2019-2020.

Meet the Team

Asha Rao

Asha Rao, Ph.D

Program Director, WIL

Professor of Management

Dr. Asha Rao is a Full Professor of Management at CBE and heads the Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior area. She conducts research and consults on leadership, negotiations, and diversity and inclusion in a global environment. She has published her research on these topics and presented at many academic and practitioner conferences. Dr. Rao has developed and taught courses based on her areas of expertise at CSUEB, Rutgers, and McGill Universities and received the Outstanding Faculty Awards for Teaching and Service. She is a Senior Fulbright Fellow.

Cigdem Genser

Cigdem Gencer


Founder & Executive Coach at Fazilet Consulting

Cigdem Gencer is an inspirational international executive leader with 25+ years of financial services and data/analytics experience. She has extensive success in scaling businesses and leading teams to achieve outstanding business outcomes in startup, turnaround, and mature organizations. 

Connecting intellectual rigor with emotional intelligence, Cigdem is an inspirational coach and effective board advisor with proven success guiding tomorrow’s leaders within public, private, and non-profit organizations. Her dedication to building better, stronger leaders led her to launch Fazilet Consulting, where she works with professionals and teams aspiring to accelerate their success. Cigdem's approach helps people understand their own, deeper motivations, how to access their greatness, and develop an inclusive team culture. 

Rupal Hollenbeck

Rupal Hollenbeck


Tech Executive, Board Member, Investor

Rupal Hollenbeck is a senior high-tech leader with over 25 years of hardware, software, and services experience. She has built and led high-performance and cross-functional teams across sales, marketing, business development, operations, and supply chain.  

Rupal is CMO at Cerebras Systems, a leading AI hardware systems company in Silicon Valley, and also serves as an Independent Director of Check Point Software Technologies. She is a Founding LP in Neythri Futures Fund, a venture fund dedicated to bringing diversity to the investment ecosystem. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Women in Leadership at the California State University East Bay's College of Business & Economics.